Desperate to escape from the nonsense of the last presidential debates, I turned to John Wayne’s old war-horse, “The Alamo”. Love that movie, especially the martinet William Barrett Travis as played by Lawrence Harvey. (According to historical records, Travis was exactly that kind of a martinet – not overly well-liked.)
Which brings me to the holes in the movie. Texas was a Mexican province in rebellion against its overlords, not the oppressed subject nation described so vividly in the film. Immigrants had been wooed to Texas with the promise of land, in exchange for oaths of allegiance, understanding that slavery was not permitted in Mexican territories (this is 1824 remember) and a promise to convert to Catholicism. The vast majority of the American settlers promised all and delivered little.
180 years ago today, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, generalissimo of Mexico, leaves Monclova in northern Mexico with 4000 troops, heading for the Rio Grande. His intent is to chastise the settlers and restore order in Texas. His troops have been marching since November. They are wearing cotton fatigue suits. There are no medical personnel, not much food, and very little in the way of forage for the horses, mules and oxen. But they press on.